After Earth has two things going against it right now for me. One, it is co-written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and two, it stars Will and Jaden Smith. Shyamalan’s films have gotten increasingly worse since he made Signs, one of my favorites from the director. The Village is debatable (I walked away from it unsatisfied) but his quality of work has descended to laughably bad levels, made most apparent by the awful film The Happening. After Earth is co-written by Stephen Gagham (Traffic) and Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) so perhaps their involvement will help Shyamalan from falling on his proverbial face. As far as Will Smith and son, I have nothing against them as actors but I often feel Will Smith’s ego too often permeates his films and it becomes distracting to me. Jaden Smith has yet to really prove himself as anything but the son of Will Smith but I’m open to seeing if he can come out from beneath his father’s shadow and earn a name for himself as an actor.
Despite these elements that would normally increase my disinterest in such a film, I’m surprised to find myself really open to checking this one out. Perhaps I try to remain optimistic that people can turn their careers around (namely Shyamalan) but I’m always up for a good sci-fi flick and After Earth doesn’t look half bad. The “reveal” at the end of the trailer that they are on a future version of Earth really does nothing to entice me and makes me think that Shyamalan may try for some more eco-messages like he did with The Happening (which unfortunately only remind me of that film when I watch the trailer). I do like the survivalist story mixed with an estranged father/son dynamic and that could be something that might be fun to explore. I’m up for giving After Earth a shot but I’m approaching it with a cautious optimism. What do you think of the trailer? Are you up for another M. Night Shyamalan film?
by Ben McBride